List of Hybrids of European Orchids

You came across a hybrid name in literature, and don't know which combination it means ?
Or you are looking for literature about a certain hybrid ?     Then this is the right place to look for it.


Three hybrid types are distingushed, of which mainly the first two ones are theme of this list:

  • Primary hybrids (hybrids of the first generation, often not fertile).
  • Hybrid populations (originated from fertile primary hybrids, often containing re-hybridisations with the parents, especially in genus Dactylorhiza hybrid populations are not rare). A similar case are F2 hybrids (backcrosses with itself) from breeders.
  • Hybridogen originated species.

Base of this compilation are the books, magazines, and private orchid lists at my disposal. It will be continued permanently. Occasionally I check hybrid lists of web pages, too. In this context I want to thank Mr. Mathias Raschka, who for some years searched the internet for orchid hybrids and made his results available for the completion of this web page.

The two parents of natural primary hybrids are listed in alphabetical sequence, because the finder can't know which parent was mother (stigma) and which parent was father (pollen). For triple hybrids the assumed share in genetic material determines the sequence, in the example of a hybrid A x (B x C) contributes A theoretically a share of 50%, B and C both each 25%, (this rule I didn't obey in all cases before in the beginning, in lack of knowledge of this rule I sorted alphabetcally but under consideration of the brackets). Within the bracket the sequence is alphabetically again. For artificially generated hybrids (marked by 'ar') first the mother (stigma) and behind that the father (pollen) is mentioned, (also this rule I didn't obey in the beginning, there might still be alphabetically sorted artificial hybrids in the list). The whole list is sorted alphabetically according to the first parent species, and because of its size the web representation is divided into several separate files. The intergenetic bastards appear behind the hybrids within a genus, at the end of the entries for the first parent species.

If authors of the hybrids or year of the description are mentioned, then only those of the original authors, who "coined" the name, not the names of persons who did recombinations later. So if you are looking for the correct citation of a hybrid with name of author and eventually recombinator as well as the corresponding original source, then the search engine of the International Plant Name Index is the suitable tool. My list supplements it by delivering more literature and iconographic sources. If in the second column a person and probably year but no hybrid name is mentioned, the name is that the person who found the not yet described hybrid, resp. for artificial hybrids the person who breeded it. If for a hybrid combination no source is mentioned in the last column it has in most cases been found in the internet, and can usually be found there via a search engine, if the source is still existing.

More than 3000 hybrids are currently contained. It's my private compilation, which lays neither claim completeness nor soundness. If you should find errors therein, or if you have additions, please send a short message via e-mail (please write the address out, because of the SPAM robots)

I have been maintaining this list for more than fifteen years. Many earlier described hybrids are taken from the compilation in Sundermann's field guide (3. edition 1980), which has the problem that the author didn't distinguish between many closely related species. If known, I supplement these collective species with s.l. or, in the opposite case s.str.

If you are looking for a certain bastard, the self programmed search-function is the easiest access to the list of hybrid names. The page with the search-result is generated dynamically, it runs as PHP script in the server.

My compilation contains many synonyms of designated hybrids. On one hand the check of all the priorities under the today's closer definition of species would last several years, and I'm currently not intending to do it. On the other hand mentioning of synonyms is intended, in order to give their hybrid combination, and in many cases to refer to further literature about these, too.

Certainly one must assume that the literature about hybrids, and therefore also this compilation, contains many mis-determinations. Everybody knows how thoughtlessly the maddest speculations arise in the enthusiasm for an unusual finding. Nevertheless the compilation may be a useful reference, which e.g. may shorten some search for recent literature references about hybrids of European orchids. Hybrids, which are very doubtful according to today's view, are usually marked ('zh').

More primary hybrids seem to be possible than some are thinking, e.g. in 1999 the artificial generation of a hybrid between Anacamptis fragrans x Ophrys x Albertiana was credibly published, of which photos are available again in the internet since short time. (At which Ophrys x Albertiana is the artificial hybrid Ophrys holoserica x apifera). Today modern scientific methods as e.g. analysis of the genes can clearify doubtful cases, as the example of the 1988 published supposed hybrid Aceras anthropophorum x Neotinea maculata from Gargano is showing, which turned out as an atavistic Neotinea. Below there are some photos of unusual and atavisic orchids which are no hybrids.

Dactylorhiza alpestris, F Col de Granon 30.6.02  Ophrys aurelia, F Nice 27.4.02
No hybrid, but Dactylorhiza alpestris with genetic
F Col de Granon 30.6.02
 No hybrid, but an unusual Ophrys aurelia
F Nice 27.4.02
Gymnadenia odoratissima Atavism, D Allgäu 10.7.04  Gymnadenia odoratissima Atavism, D Allgäu 10.7.04
Some people assume that these atavistic Gymnadenia odoratissima are hybrids between Gymnadenia odoratissima and Spiranthes aestivalis. I do not.
D Allgäu 10.7.04
Copyright: Use of the images and texts only with author's written permission.